USA/UK 2000

Reviewed by Xan Brooks


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Jewel thief and courier Franky Four Fingers steals a vast diamond in Antwerp and prepares to deliver the stone to his boss, Avi, in New York. But Franky is ambushed (and later killed) in London by buffoonish henchmen Vinny, Sol and Tyrone, working for a Russian mobster, Boris. Meanwhile, unlicenced boxing promoters Turkish and Tommy recruit an Irish gypsy, Mickey One Punch, to fight in a bout organised by crimelord Brick Top, who demands that the boxer takes a dive in the fourth round. Instead, Mickey wins the fight, enraging Brick Top, who nevertheless arranges another match in which Mickey must dive in the fourth. To ensure the gypsy's obedience, Brick Top's mob kill Mickey's mother.

Avi arrives in London in search of his diamond and hires London hardman Bullet Tooth Tony to find Franky. But Brick Top has also got wind of the heist and threatens to kill Vinny, Sol and Tyrone unless they deliver the gem to him. After a stand-off in which Boris is killed, the diamond is eaten by a dog belonging to the gypsies, which escapes through a window. Avi inadvertently shoots Tony while aiming for the dog. That night, Mickey wins his fight, landing himself, Turkish and Tommy in trouble with Brick Top. But Mickey's fellow gypsies spring a surprise attack, slaughtering Brick Top and his gang. Visiting the abandoned gypsy camp the next morning, Turkish and Tommy find the thieving dog and take possession of the diamond.


Compare Guy Ritchie's Snatch to his 1998 debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The content is unchanged (hard nuts and cheeky chancers in underworld London), but the delivery is different. Desperate even. If Lock, Stock ran on a kind of bullet-headed punk aesthetic (albeit one that was more Sham 69 than the Sex Pistols) then Snatch has the feel of a free-style jamming session. What we have here is a gaudy mess. At times it feels like it's being made up as it goes along.

Snatch opens by introducing its myriad characters in stylised freeze frame. In hindsight, it's probably the only time the picture pauses for breath. Thereafter this tale of the misadventures surrounding the theft of a diamond "as big as a fist" unfolds as a series of brashly ordered set pieces; snazzy dramatic fireworks with little pacing, point or purpose.

Ritchie sets his horizons wider than he did in Lock, Stock, for the film makes a great show of reflecting a certain British multiculturalism. Where Lock, Stock gave house room to mockney lads only, Snatch opens its doors to Jews and blacks and Irish "pikeys" and Russians and (surely with an eye on the transatlantic market) visiting Americans. Yet while the intentions of all this may be admirable, the handling lets it down. Snatch sets its stall straight away with a scene in which a bunch of comic-book Jews (actually burglars in disguise) shuffle along to a Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack and then alight in a scuzzy campsite full of thieving gypsies. In labouring to avoid political correctness, Snatch falls back on stereotypes. These characters are too affectionately rendered to cause much offence, but in dramatic terms they're phoney creations.

The problem, perhaps, is that Ritchie remains a far better director than he is a writer. Put him next to a camera and he shows a panache that's crude but absorbing. Sit him at a word-processor, though, and he swiftly succumbs to masturbatory gangster fantasies propelled by the sort of tennis-match banter that reads like a bad marriage of Tarantino and television's Minder (Tommy: "Who took the jam outta your donut?" Turkish: "You did, Tommy. You took the jam outta my fuckin' donut"). The fact that such decent actors as Dennis Farina and Benicio Del Toro are killed stone dead by the language Ritchie lands in their mouths makes Brad Pitt's fate all the more impressive. Playing pikey boxer Mickey, Pitt tramples his dialogue into muddy impenetrability, twitching and gurning at the edge of ludicrousness. In refusing to take the part seriously, he winds up as the film's most convincing inhabitant.

Ritchie apparently wrote the Snatch screenplay before Lock, Stock was released, and, although drawn on a broader, more costly canvas, this shaggy-dog crime caper still feels like the work of a first-time film-maker. It's a show-off concoction of look-at-me camera moves tethered to a script that runs on a breathless 'and-then-and-then-and-then...' daisy chain of incidents. In the end, Ritchie's antics are so geared towards snaring the viewer's attention that he loses sight of the bigger picture. Snatch throws a bunch of ideas at the wall and hopes that some of them will stick. Rarely has such an eagerly anticipated film from a supposedly established director looked so much like a calling-card.


Guy Ritchie
Matthew Vaughn
Guy Ritchie
Director of Photography
Tim Maurice-Jones
Jon Harris
Production Designer
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski
John Murphy
©Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Production Companies
Columbia Pictures presents in association with Ska Films a Matthew Vaughn production
Executive Producers
Peter Morton
Steve Tisch
Stephen Marks
Angad Paul
Trudie Styler
Michael Dreyer
Associate Producers
Sebastian Pearson
Taha Ali Reza
Production Co-ordinator
Emma Pike
Production Manager
Adam Bohling
Location Manager
Pat Karam
Location Unit Manager
Ashton Radcliffe
Jatinderpal Chohan
Assistant Directors
David Reid
Dan Toland
Mick Ward
Script Supervisor
Mary Haddow
Lucinda Syson
Camera Operator
Peter Wignall
Digital Effects
The Moving Picture Company
Special Effects
Ken Lailey
Caspar Lailey
Les Healey
Art Director
Julie Philpott
Set Decorator
Linda Wilson
Costume Designer
Verity Hawkes
Costume Supervisor
Sharon Gilham
Caroline McCall
Melina Fragkia
Fae Hammond
Belinda Parrish
Title Design
Stuart Hilton
Ian Cross
Music Editor
Danny Sheehan
Score Engineer/Mixer
Daniel L. Griffiths
Music Consultant
Ian Neil
Karen Elliott
Matt Biffa
"Supermoves" - Overseer; "Diamond", "Are You There?" - Klint; "Hernando's Hideaway" - The Johnston Brothers; "Golden Brown" - The Stranglers; "Ghost Town" - The Specials; "Dreadlock Holiday" - 10cc; "Cross the Tracks (We Better Go Back)" - Maceo and the Macks; "Disco Science" - Madonna; "Hot Pants (I'm Coming, Coming, I'm Coming)" - Bobby Byrd; "Sensual Woman" - The Herbaliser; "Angel" - Massive Attack; "Fucking in the Bushes" - Oasis, contains samples from Murray Lerner's film "Message to Love - Isle of Wight 1970"; "Don't You Just Know It" - Huey Smith; "Viva Las Vegas"
Sound Design
Matthew Collinge
Sound Mixer
Simon Hayes
Re-recording Mixers
Mike Dowson
Mark Taylor
Dialogue Editor
Danny Sheehan
Effects Editor
Matthew Collinge
Jason Swanscott
Dianne Greaves
Michael Redfern
Technical Consultant
Ranald Graham
Stunt Co-ordinator
Tom Delmar-McCormick
Charlie Bodycomb
Benicio Del Toro
Franky Four Fingers
Dennis Farina
Vinnie Jones
Bullet Tooth Tony
Brad Pitt
Mickey One Punch O'Neil
Rade Sherbedgia
Boris the Blade
Jason Statham
Alan Ford
Brick Top
Mike Reid
Doug the Head
Robbie Gee
Lennie James
Ewen Bremner
Jason Flemyng
William Beck
Andy Beckwith
Jason Buckham
Mickey Cantwell
Nikki Collins
Teena Collins
Charles Cork
James Cunningham
horrible man
Sorcha Cusack
Mum O'Neil
Mickey Dee
Jack The All Seeing Eye
Sam Douglas
Adam Fogerty
Gorgeous George
Bad Boy Lincoln
Stephen Graham
Sid Hoare
Ronald Isaac
Chuck Julian
Dave Legeno
Eric Meyers
Avi's colleague
Jason Ninh Cao
Paul O'Boyle
Jimmy Roussounis
Sydney Sedin
Trevor Steedman
Bomber Harris
Yuri Stepanov
Peter Szakács
Sausage Charlie
John Taheny
Salt Peter
Mick Theo
Mad Fist Willy
Andy Till
John the Gun
Velibor Topic
the Russian
Scott Welch
Horace 'Good night' Anderson
Michael Hughes
Liam McMahon
Jim Warren
Gypsy men
Austin Drage
Liam Donaghy
Joe Williams
Gypsy kids
John Farnell
Shaun Pearson
Dean Smith
Roy Snell
Brick Top's henchmans
Tim Faraday
Andrew Shield
Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
9,235 feet
102 minutes 37 seconds
Dolby Digital/SDDS
Colour by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011